A couple of years ago, December 4, 2009, precisely, I wrote a blogpost in which I lamented a discriminatory practice in the blood donation system on the American campus where I was working then a visiting scholar. Because I was a Nigerian and for no other reason, I had been turned back from giving blood. Two years later, this time as a Masters student in the same university, I wrote a second report, acknowledging a change I noticed in the policy.
Since that first encounter, through the second one, the availability of blood (and the policies behind blood donation drives around the country) had remained on my mind as an abiding interest. So when, back in Nigeria, I was called into the founding of the One Percent Project and the Ten Thousand Donor project which both aim to make access to safe and healthy blood affordable and available through the means of information technology-driven applications, I jumped into it.
It had been fun, and enlightening, and rewarding. Since the founding of the organization in May 2012, the One Percent Project has helped facilitate the collection of about 754 pints of blood from young professionals from around the country, through the Nigerian National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) who then give it to hospitals where they are needed, thus potentially saving about 2262 lives (since a pint of blood is reputed to be able to save about three human lives).
But that was just the beginning. So, starting from tomorrow June 14, the best tech volunteers, programmers and hackers from around Nigeria are gathering in Yaba and Lekki to collaborate with the One Percent Project to create an app that can make it easier for potential donors to link up with blood donation centres around the country, and especially for patients needing blood to connect with willing donors who have signed up to be called whenever the situation arises.
Tomorrow is also the 2013 World Blood Donor Day
I will be part of the event, tweeting nuggets, pictures, and thoughts via my twitter feed @baroka. At 4pm on Sunday, at the Audax Solutions Office (at Plot 24, Block 113, Adebisi Ogunniyi Crescent, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos), the app, called the LifeBank App, will be publicly launched. There will be bloggers, social media personalities, print media practitioners, and other trustees present. If you can make it, it would be nice to see you there too. It would be nice to introduce you to the advances this new generation of Nigerian youths are making to make the future much better than the present.
The LifeApp Facebook page has been set up, as well as a twitter page. Conversations on the hackaton and the app launch will be on twitter under the hashtags #hack4health and #LifeBank and on the LifeBank App blog.